After a long silence, I have decided to move on and get back to my routines.
From considerably reduced outing to staying home, I have put aside my camera and picked up the stylus to paint using my photograph as the starting point. Never painted before, it is a brand-new challenge and endeavor for me. I hope to get better as I am learning and exploring in the process.
The world is undergoing unprecedented chaos and unease. Back to Nature is the way to breathe fresh air and preserve conscience.
Where do I begin… I had my first listing in Oregon. Oregon announced the first case of coronavirus… My birding trip was canceled… I had the first open house and accepted a full price offer on the second day of the open house… Eugene and Springfield area (where I live) had the first and second case of coronavirus earlier last week and both were dead!… Oregon announced the state of emergency last Wednesday, today re-enforced ‘stay home’ and I am now homebound and working from home.
It might be difficult for some people not to constantly connected with the family, friends and the social circle. Otherwise, it is a good time to simply relax, ponder and find a focus on something that you don’t normally do or something that you wanted to do, but have not had chance to do.
Sunrise at Crater Lake
Haven’t done a lot, but I always like black and white images from which you are drawn to focus your mind on fewer details than being overwhelmed by colors and details.
Took a short drive to Spark Lake with my daughter and her family last year, I ended up with hundreds of kids’ pictures. My attention went to every single move of the kids. The scenery was ‘just’ background for the little ones. If I am not staying home now, quiet and calm, this image would not pop up on me.
A Foggy Morning
We should stay home away from the crowd, but we don’t need to stay away from nature. This pond is only 15 mins drive away from my house. I can come here to listen to the bird’s chirp and watch the ducks play.
A clear and bright winter day is precious since Oregonian’s slogan is ‘rain or shine, business as usual.’ We packed up our cameras and went on a birding drive. Within a 25 mins drive distance from home, we had great fun ‘capturing’ various flyers.
In Oregon, when you are out of the house, you are quickly stepping into nature. When the birds sing, you can hear it. When they fly, you can easily follow them around. Western Meadowlark is about, but they are usually too far away for a clear shot. Just when I thought I finally grabbed him standing in the perfect light (and close enough), he suddenly turned his head, and my click sound scared him away. Luckily I was able to record their songs.
Spring lambs are out running after their Moms. The adults are hairy enough to be sheared. The bird buddies enjoyed being cushioned on their backs. Here I see not only nature but also harmony among the creatures. Very often, I feel I am inspired and touched by mother nature. It is the life in Oregon that drives me to observe all these amazing things behind nature.
I live in the 3rd largest city Eugene where there might not have abundant job opportunities like Portland, but the work-from-home folks and people who are in public services still have plenty of jobs to pursue. Many private small businesses offer a family-like working environment where the task becomes a pleasure and co-workers like your family or friends. With its central location, you can travel north or south to other big cities. Go west to the Pacific Ocean (the famous Oregon coast) and east to Central and Eastern Oregon, the high desert area where you go for recreational activities, e.g., hiking and skiing. *Oregon is unique for its versatile geological features, you see it all in one state. In addition to the 50 hikingtrails within reach, there are 100 miles of biking trails. Imagine biking along the river…
Portland, including metropolitan areas, covers a significant ground. Obviously, it is the business and career central. However, unlike other big cities, Portland is beautiful, natural, and has easy access to the nature-enhanced living. Columbia River Gorge, Willamette River, Mount Hood, and countless scenic sites by the river, on the mountain top, or solely around the city.
Salem is the 2nd largest city with the typical capital city ambiance, clean and organized. If you like to have steady government jobs, this is where you want to be. In fact, you can commute from other smaller towns with short driving distance. Usually, ‘downtown’ does not translate the pleasant feelings, but it’s enjoyable to hang out downtown Salem classic neighborhood and riverfront.
Eugene is a college town, cultural and intellectual. It is also a center of artists who create unique artwork and art pieces. I like the ‘just right’ population size, the easy and fast access to nature and the friendly residents here.
When I moved to Oregon more than two decades ago, one of my sales reps said to me, “What’s in Oregon besides Nature and Sports?” She said, ” Oregonians have nothing to do, and that’s why you go to the ball games.” I know it is our work relationship that she did not want me to leave California. And yet, deep inside, I was unsure myself if it was the right move. Then self-employed, I can live anywhere, why Oregon? Then self-employed, I could live anywhere. I was longing for peace and tranquility. Oregon is close to my California siblings. The green nature was calling.
I pulled my girls from their circle of friends and sustained their complaint, ” There are barely ￼malls here and the boys all look so pale, no nurture of sunshine. ” Soon enough, they made friends in new schools and the comfort of mild weather bring them smiles. The first thing I noticed myself moving here is the service quality offered by the retailers. The clerks are more caring and customer-service oriented. This is still true up to this day.
Here in Northwest, there are distinctive four seasons. You enjoy the mild spring and fall with the warmer and cooler pattern. Summer can be hot but dry, has never been scorching and sweating hot. The temperature all year round is within a comfortable range. Speaking of Oregon, people often question about rain. In fact, it does not rain all day long, and the vast green is a major reward. It may snow in wintertime, but very rarely and the snow does not stick for days. People here are actually longing for snow which will give kids a few fun days to walk on the snow and do a bit of sledding.
Four seasons :
Instead of going to the restaurants and shops, we go into Nature birding, camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, river rafting, rock climbing, skiing, and anything else Nature can offer. Hiking and biking trails are around town and within reasonable reach. A healthy lifestyle comes natural living in the surroundings as such.
There is a reason why I become a photographer. You may have heard that Oregon is the photographer’s haven. No shame to gain this name. When my Taiwan college friends decide to have our reunion trip to Oregon, I was completely unsure of the outcome. To the end, I was confirmed and reconfirmed that the Oregon trip was an unforgettable one. In the Northwest, we are granted a beautiful and natural living environment and have easy access to the mountains, rivers, waterfalls, creeks and even deserts. Geographic features vary from one region to the other within the State.
Sunrises at Crater Lake
The weather is nice. The scenery is awesome. The service quality is better. But how about Job opportunities? What to do here besides outdoor activities? (to be continued)